Skip to main content
An estimated 126.1 million adults have felt some pain in the past 3 months, and 25.3 million adults suffer from pain daily, according to a recent study featured in the Journal of Pain (Estimates of Pain Prevalence and Severity in Adults: United States, 2012 – August 2015). Meanwhile, 14.4 million adults were classified as having "the highest level of pain," and 23.4 million adults were classified as having "a lot of pain."

Even more distressing, many Americans are treating pain with dangerous prescription drugs.

"The amount of painkillers, such as oxycodone and hydrocodone sold in the United States, has nearly quadrupled," the Washington Post reported, citing data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (NIH: More than 1 in 10 American adults experience chronic pain – August 11, 2015). As of 2020, the CDC estimates that 45 people die each day in the United States as a result of prescription opioid overdose.

The good news is that physical therapists provide an effective, if underused, alternative to prescription drugs in the treatment of pain. Here are 9 things you should know about pain.

The American Physical Therapy Association launched a national campaign to raise awareness about the risks of opioids and the safe alternative of physical therapy for long-term pain management. Learn more at our Safe Pain Management page.

Related Resources

Additional Information

Access additional Did You Know? pages.

Is this content helpful?

Thanks for the feedback!

Thank you. Your feedback has been sent.

You Might Also Like...

Health Tips

4 Things To Expect After Shoulder Replacement Surgery

May 1, 2024

Shoulder replacement is a major surgery in which all or part of the shoulder joint is replaced. If you have shoulder replacement surgery you'll see a physical

Health Tips

Six Exercises for Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain

Mar 26, 2024

Research shows that both strengthening and stretching exercise programs can greatly reduce pain and improve walking in people with plantar fasciitis. These

Health Tips

5 Ways to Help Manage Osteoarthritis

Oct 17, 2023

Osteoarthritis, or OA, is a degenerative joint disease that causes pain and stiffness and can lead to limited function. Knee OA is the most common type.